I want to start out by saying that for me, Valentine’s Day is an overrated holiday in which men and women – mostly men – spend too much money on disposable items. The items offer only temporary enjoyment which is more for the recipient’s onlookers like friends and colleagues than themselves. It is a visual form of gratification and self-promotion to all onlookers. The more money spent shows how much they are supposedly loved and adored by the giver, and the receiver then desires a secret feeling of contempt and jealousy from onlookers. Which to me is just a mean and spiteful and complete opposite of what the day is supposedly celebrating.
Personally, I do not really believe in such a silly day. I don’t believe love is shown in chocolates, and expensive flowers or dinners on one day in a year. I believe that love is shown in many ways that cost nothing throughout the entire year. A tissue and a shoulder to cry on when you are sad. A firm grip of your hand when you are scared. A silly joke to make you smile when you’ve had a bad day. To me those free actions show love every day of the year, and a surprise date night mean more then any one scheduled day in a year could. For mostly my own stubborn reasons and personal beliefs in what love is, I used to boycott Valentine’s Day a child and even still to this day as an adult. I used to threaten boyfriends if they attempted to give into such nonsense I wouldn’t talk to them. My husband gets glares as we pass the pink and red colored aisle in a store. He laughs and thinks I am stubbornly cute.
Now, you are saying to yourself “OK, lady I don’t get you. You say you dislike the idea of Valentine’s Day yet you are making heart cupcakes?” That is easy. It’s for the kids, and what kids wouldn’t like cupcakes. I don’t believe in a lot of things but I would never impose my thoughts or beliefs on anyone’s kids. If they want hearts, things of pink and red with little cards that say “I choo, choo, choose you” with a happy little cartoon drawing of a train smiling, then I will gladly put on a smile and sign the card. Maybe even sprinkle glitter over it all, and make these double chocolate cupcakes with little sugar harts. Children have to deal with so much now a days if I can do anything to help keep a child a little more innocent I will. Even if it involves making red chocolate hearts.
The cupcakes are going to be part of a Valentine’s Day decorating day for my friends two girls. The youngest is having a birthday in March and we are going to brainstorm her birthday cake. I didn’t want to leave the older sister out so I am making a bunch of sugar cookie hearts to resemble conversation hearts and then letting them both write in messages to give to their mom and grandma for Valentine’s. The cupcakes are a gift to the family from me. Sometimes, my cynical side subsides just long enough when kids are involved to let me give in to what I would normally think would be a nonsensical day.
These are the perfect double chocolate cupcakes. They are just very slightly modified from ATK’s. They are awesome and only changed because of what I had on-hand. They are great with the creamy rich buttercream. This is my very first attempt at an American buttercream. If you have read my blog at all you know I am a die hard Swiss buttercream fan. The frosting recipe is from a friend who got it from her mom who got it from her aunt who now lives in the UK. I don’t know the original source but I did convert the grams on the recipe to ounces to make it easier for my American readers. The frosting is fluffy, creamy, easy to pipe, and just smooth. Which to me is new, all my experiences with American buttercream is gritty and overly sweet. This is just fluffy chocolate awesomeness. Slightly ashamed to admit that I was eating the left over by the spoonful, and even Frank was surprised at how good it was. So, give it a try. I think you will be surprised and quite pleased with the results. I do not think you will find a better accompaniment to these rich fluffy double chocolate cupcakes. I finished the cupcakes heart sprinkles and then with red melting chocolate drew out and filled hearts with some candy heart sprinkles to make it more Valentine-ish? Yep just made up a new word!
Double Chocolate Cupcakes
Yields: 12-18 Cupcakes / two 8″ layer rounds
Adapted: America’s Test Kitchen
- 3 oz Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
- 1 oz Dutch-processed cocoa
- 3/4 cup hot coffee
- 4.50 oz All Purpose Flour
- 5.25 oz Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 6 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsp Cider Vinegar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 12-18 cupcake molds with paper liners or two 8″ round cake pans.
In the bowl of your stand mixer add in the chocolate, cocoa powder, and hot coffee. Mix on low until combined and smooth, all the chocolate should be melted. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and whisk to combine. In a large (two cup capacity measuring cup combine the vegetable oil, eggs, cider vinegar, and extract. Whisk to combine.
By now the chocolate mixture should be smooth and cool. Stop the mixer and add in 1/2 the flour mixture, and 1/2 the egg mixture. Continue to mix on medium speed until combined. Then continue for one minute Turn the mixer off and scrape down the sides (if necessary) add in the remaining flour mixture and egg mixture, and mix on medium speed until well combined for two minutes. Scraping down the sides as necessary.
Fill prepared cupcake liners 3/4 full (one full ice cream scoop full, 4 tbsp size) and bake for 18-20 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, remove from oven. Leave in the pan to cool for 5 minutes before turning out to cool completely on a wire rack.
Chocolate American Buttercream
Yeilds: 30 oz Buttercream
Adapted: Family Friend
- 10 oz Unsalted Buter, softened
- 14 oz Powdered (Frosting) Sugar
- 2 oz Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder
- 2 tsp Vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp Milk
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, and cocoa. Mix until combined yet still looks slightly dry like bread crumbs. Add in the vanilla and milk. Mix on high for 2 minutes until begins to look creamy. Scrape down the sides and mix for 5-7 until almost doubles in volume and pales in color to a chocolate milk color. Taste, continue to mix in 1 minute increments until you no longer taste the grit of the sugar and the mixture is smooth and creamy. Use immediately or seal in an air tight container and store for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Bring the mixture up to room temperature and whisk to lighten before using refrigerated product.